U.S. smacked with seasonal vax shortfall

The world's vaccine makers will deliver all the seasonal flu vaccine they promised, but it isn't going to be enough. With swine flu spurring millions of people to demand a seasonal flu shot for the first time, the U.S. is facing a severe shortfall.

The shortage has become so severe in New York that city officials are asking physicians to stop giving the jab to healthy adults under the age of 65. And with the CDC estimating that 85 million Americans have already been vaccinated against seasonal flu--up from 61 million at this point last year--the shortage is likely to wind its way through all 50 states.

Last year 103 million Americans were vaccinated with the 113 million doses supplied. This year manufacturers are shipping 114 million doses. But as anxious people snap them up at a record pace, the vaccine will likely be gone long before the demand this year is satisfied.

In other years the manufacturers could have just made more. But this year's pandemic has made that impossible as the vaccine companies scramble to produce billions of doses for a world that has grown increasingly anxious about the new flu.

- read the article from the New York Times

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